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Thursday, April 21, 2016

TV Review: #Containment – S01E01 - Pilot Episode

This has to be one of the most intriguing pilot episodes I’ve seen thus far for a viral/zombie/outbreak show.

Review By Erika Ashley

A virus breaks out in the heart of Atlanta weaving a group of strangers into a deadly mix.
During this pilot episode of the much anticipated new television drama Containment breaks into the scene with a bang. Jump start to a preview of Day 13 of the viral outbreak. The National Guard busts out of a trucking container into a frenzy of citizens fighting for survival. Bodies are burning in the street, a mother screams for help while carrying a bloodied lifeless child in her arms. A true feast for the eyes of hungry horror and gore fanatics.

Flash back to the beginning – Day 1 of the outbreak. A group of children visit the Atlanta Midtown Hospital on a field trip accompanied by their doe-eyed teacher, Katie Frank. While the children enter the facility the scene jumps to a doctor, Rita Sanders, showing signs of infection and is quarantined. She recalls how she became infected, informing another attending physician who the potential Patient Zero could be. Suddenly during her retelling of her encounter she realizes that the patient signed his release form with her pen, the very pen still in her front pocket. Jump to a couple across town, Lex and Jana, fighting after another failed attempt at moving in together. Jana struggles with her own commitment issues and Lex storms out after he is called in work for an emergency meeting.

At the Department of Public Health a meeting is being held between multiple state and local law enforcement agencies debriefing about a potential deadly outbreak. The local Atlanta Police are tasked to locate and return Patient Zero – a Syrian man in the country illegally. While in another location in town a young pregnant teenage couple, Teresa and Xander, plan their escape to runaway together. Back at the hospital Doctor Sanders gets worse and begins coughing up blood as a main symptom. The children are still in the hospital and Katie asks another attending physician, Bobby Carver, where their tour lead doctor is without any real response. In a completely awkward and out of place moment Jake, another police officer and best friends with Lex, reaches out to Jana to give her grief about not moving in with Lex. Jake also reminds her of their short lived romance but then Lex arrives and gives him the instruction to join the team looking for Patient Zero.
When the students return to their bus after their field trip is cancelled a young student sneezes but her step-father and bus driver insists she had a previous cold/hay-fever. Dr. Carver runs aboard the school bus and demands the class return to the hospital and they oblige. Just a few blocks away from the hospital in another building Jana arrives to work to handle an emergency of her own. The high ranking CDC doctor, Dr. Sabine Lommers, informs Lex what could potentially happen during the outbreak and tries to win him over as a face of the CDC and Law Enforcement. She insists that the virus could be a potential bioterrorism attack. Dr. Lommers plays heavily into the politics of the situation and suggests that if Lex participates his career could have a very successful outcome. When Lex attempts to walk away Dr. Lommers presses harder and explains how dangerous and serious the situation at hand is for the community and Lex.

While still working away at her office, Jana, gets flack from her colleague about failing yet another attempt at committing to Lex. Just then he calls to inform her about the outbreak and they quickly make up when she agrees to finally move in for real this time. Jump to Teresa having to reschedule her runaway train departure because her grandfather, Bert, whom works at the hospital is being held due to the hospital’s precaution shutdown. Teresa leaves a voicemail for Xander that instead of the 3PM train she’ll be taking the 5PM instead. Just then the police arrive at a home of the potential Patient Zero. The patient’s uncle answers the door and initially attempts to lie but comes clean when the police, in full SWAT attire, demand for the safety of the others that he hand over the Syrian man. The uncle finally admits that his nephew entered the country in the cargo compartment of a plane. The police hear the man in the back bedroom and bust in to find a family member attending to him while he lays in bed sick and dying. While the police try to apprehend the man he quickly jumps up and attempts to run but ends up in the doorway sneezing on Jake’s riot gear facemask.
Back the hospital two students, including Katie’s son – Quentin, disappear from the group and Katie goes to look for them. She runs into Jake in a restricted area and Dr. Carver allows them to look for the students as long as they stay close, but reminds them to stay 4-6 feet away from anyone and everyone at all times. The two enter another off-limits area but end up finding two dead infected individuals in a quarantine area. Jump to another meeting where Dr. Sommers asks for an update from the other CDC doctor on the case – Dr. Victor Cannerts, who gives them the most up to date information on his findings. The Syrian man is Patient Zero, has become rabid during quarantine and infected his attending physician. Dr. Sanders and her boyfriend are dead. Patient Zero’s entire family shows signs of infection and are brought into quarantine. The virus is found to be a pathogenic, highly contagious and fatal in 100% of the victims.

Returning to the hospital Katie locates her son and the other student with Bert looking at lab rats. Quickly Jake and Katie begin to flirt and obvious chemistry arises. Dr. Carver finds them in the off-limits hall and informs them that the hospital is on a 48-hour lock down and just then he sneezes in their direction while their face masks are off. Jake begins to freak out and blames Lex for putting him in the situation. Flashing back to the CDC meeting, Dr. Cannerts continues his findings and informs the group that the latest diagnostic information the agent has been identified as Influenza A with hemoglutin Type 7 Neuraminidase Type 2 or H7N2, or an avian type virus. There's been a mutation that now allows it to transfer between humans. The CDC found a vial containing the viral substance in the belongings of Patient Zero and Dr. Lommers confirms Top Level Containment Practices need to be put in affect and dismisses non-essential personnel from the meeting, including Lex.
Over at the train station, Teresa tries to board her 5PM train but since the CDC has begun lock down practices she is unable to board when the station is shut down. Lex attempts to reach out to Jana without luck. Jake calls Lex and blames him for his potential infection. Dr. Lommers insists on the quarantine of the city by fencing in the virus. And Lex agrees to be a part of the containment in hopes to save Jana and his city. Press conferences announce to the public what’s going on and how the city is being places on a quarantine lock down. The virus can only be passed by bodily fluids and has an incubation period is 16-48 hours and they must go a full 48 hours to be removed from lock down. Jake sees Dr. Carver in a quarantine cell and he instantly looks doomed. On the outside Lex finds Jana on the wrong side of the fence and Xander finds Teresa on the wrong side as well. Lex promises to do all he can to save the ones he loves and his city.

And we’re back to Day 13 of the outbreak.

This has to be one of the most intriguing pilot episodes I’ve seen thus far for a viral/zombie/outbreak show. Already you can see the connections between the characters while they are still stumbling around not yet aware of each other. The visual and makeup effects are well done and the story moves along quickly jumping from one character to the other without it being out of place. The storytelling is fluid and continuous. It’s exciting to see such a realistic potential zombie outbreak. Most other attempts are hokey and overdone, but with the subtle bioterrorism attack the story seems almost believable which is pretty bad ass but extremely frightening. Not everything was perfect of course, there were some pretty cheesy dialogue moments. Especially with the, “4 to 6 feet” line being repeated by nearly everyone in the hospital. Not to mention Jake does not wear a mask that covers his mouth. Instead he wears a face shield, where his mouth is still open to potential dangers of sneezes and general air inhalation. But, with all that being said you bet your sweet ass I’ll be making sure everyone around stay 4-6 feet away and I’ll be in a head to toe bodysuit if anything remotely similar to this outbreak happens in real life.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Erika Ashley @ErikaAshley

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